“Why don’t we make our own map? Make our own 9-dash line. I think that’s a very good suggestion. Let’s insist on our own and God forbid they cross the line, the Mutual Defense Treaty will kick in. I think it’s just a matter of setting our foot down,” says Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
MANILA — The Philippines should conduct oil exploration in its maritime waters and create its own map staking its claim in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) following increased Chinese incursions.
The Senate President says the Government can partner with other countries and private firms in a 60-40 sharing agreement.
“Why don’t we start exploration already in these contested areas that we know are ours? If we cannot do it alone, we can have other countries or private companies that are interested. Even China itself,” says Senator Sotto.
“I think these are plausible. I’m toying with the idea of filing a bill . . . lilinawin doon ang ating mga pag-aari [It will make clear which areas are our territories],” he adds.
China has refused to recognize a 2016 arbitral ruling that favored the Philippines that invalidating its vast claims in the disputed South China Sea.
The President (Rodrigo Duterte) had forged friendlier relations with China upon assuming his post in 2016, setting aside the landmark arbitral award in favor of economic aid and investments. (RSS/The MiNT)